IPL 2022: Jos Buttler rates R Ashwin as one of the best spinners in the world

Wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler has moved on from the bitter run-out episode with Ravichandran Ashwin. The right-handed batter has rated the veteran India spinner as one of the best in the world ahead of the upcoming IPL.

The duo were involved in a heated argument in the IPL 2019 when Buttler was run out by Ashwin at the non-striker’s end. The incident made headlines during IPL 2019. RR’s home match against Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in Jaipur on March 25 when Ashwin ran out Buttler at the non-strikers end after the batter had backed up too far.

Chasing 185, RR were going great guns at 108/2 with Buttler batting on 69 when the controversial run out triggered a collapse. They finished on 170/9 to concede a 14-run defeat. Later Buttler admitted that the incident had proved “distracting” and played on his mind in his two next innings.

However, it seems like Buttler has buried the hatchet and heaped praise on Ashwin, who recently became India’s second-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, Buttler said, “It’s a really exciting time for the team you know, to start a new cycle and build a new team. The aim here is to win the IPL, and I can’t wait to contribute to that.”

Jos Buttler, Lasith Malinga, Sanju Samson (from left) Jos Buttler, Lasith Malinga, Sanju Samson interacts during the training session. (Rajasthan Royals)

“We are delighted to have so many great players in the squad. Obviously, Ashwin and Chahal are two of the best spinners in the world, and with a great pace attack, I think it’s really exciting. Then we’ve got ourselves a strong batting line-up, along with great all-round options, so I think it’s going to be a really exciting IPL for us,” added the 31-year-old.

Buttler was retained along with Sanju Samson and Yashasvi Jaiswal by the inaugural edition champions. “There were only a certain number of players that could stay with the franchise so it was quite flattering to have been offered to be retained. I’ve always enjoyed playing for this franchise and have had some really enjoyable memories.”

“Obviously I knew the franchise had placed their trust in me, along with Sanju and Yash (Yashasvi Jaiswal). There were a lot of conversations that happened before the auction, and we were just focused on trying to create a strong team, covering all bases that you need to win the tournament.”

“Another aspect was how brilliantly my family and myself have been looked after – it is quite rare, so I’m really thankful to everyone here (at the Royals),” he expressed.

Buttler missed second half of the IPL in the UAE last year to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. Following that he had an injury lay-off earlier this year after breaking his left index finger during a disappointing Ashes campaign.

“I think I’ve played a lot of cricket in the last few years and have spent a lot of time in bubbles. It was a disappointing campaign in the Ashes, which finished with a broken finger for me. Post that, I haven’t touched cricket at all – I’ve got a young family, so I had the time to relax and enjoy with them,” he said.

“I actually found it really important to do something different from cricket. It sort of brings that extra motivation and excitement when you haven’t played for a bit. Of course I enjoy my fitness, but I think it was important to put my cricket kit away for a bit. Now coming into an important year, both in the IPL and then the T20 World Cup, I feel really fresh and full of confidence.”

Having played 65 matches in his six seasons in the IPL, and scored 1968 runs at a strike rate of 150, Buttler has steadily transformed into a senior pro in the team and is looking forward to that role. “My role as a senior player is to try to give the other guys confidence. It’s to transmit a very free-spirited mindset and act as a sounding board for young players. It’s important for them to be fearless, and to just embrace the opportunity.”

“I remember when I was a young player, just having that five minutes of conversation with someone would go a long way, and I would love to help the younger guys in the same way,” he added.

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